“These church organizations, which have offered ‘treatment’ for homosexuality, create a distance between their non-heterosexual children and their misguided parents, as has been the case for me.”

I am a gay 37-year cisgendered male living in southern Sydney and raised in a fundamental Christian family. My family believes gays can be cured. They attend a church where the minister claims to be an “ex-gay” and that through prayer he can help others rid themselves of “sexual brokenness”.

When I came out to my parents at 23 (I knew who I was since age 7) one of the things my Mum and I discussed was her wishes for me to go to a Christian group which could offer me healing from my so-called “sexual brokenness”. I declined the suggestion immediately and have lived an open and honest life ever since. Whilst I never experienced conversion therapy myself, I can speak to the peripheral damage that these practices inevitably do.

Giving my parents the false hope that there was a ‘cure’ for my homosexuality sent my parents on a trajectory away from peer reviewed evidence surrounding sexuality. The framing of homosexuality as an illness on any level has no foundations today and is understood as a natural occurrence in humanity. These church organizations, which have offered ‘treatment’, create a distance between their non-heterosexual children and their misguided parents, as has been the case for me.

There is a part of my mother which still believes I could be healed of my homosexuality through prayer and other religiously motivated efforts to change.

Offering practices which promise to be able to rid people of their homosexuality causes wide reaching damage to not just individuals, but also to the families who are misled into believing their child can be healed of their homosexuality.

It is for this reason I believe efforts by any organization, whether religious or not, that aim to ‘correct’ people’s sexuality into solely heterosexuality should be banned in NSW. The often preached so called benefits of these practices are unfounded and the damage they cause can scar people for their entire lives and sometimes has deadly consequences. Suicide was certainly a consideration of mine for most of my teen years and early 20’s, knowing I was in a non-affirming family.

More information about so called “conversion therapy’ HERE

More conversion “therapy” survivor stories HERE

Anthony Venn-Brown says: “I’ve been hearing stories like this for 23 years now. I want these to stop. We can’t legislate to change an outdated, ill-informed religious belief about sexuality and gender, but we can create awareness and pass laws that protect vulnerable LGBTQ people from harm. You can help create awareness by sharing this story and also signing the Equality Australia’s petition in support of Alex Greenwich’s Equality Bill.”

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